Paul Boag – Digital Adaptions – Time to Unite your Hands

My notes from the Paul’s talk at DPM:UK 2014.

The web has changed stuff

Changed the world, changed business
Changed the workplace, always on

Many businesses digitally incompatible
Top-down management is slow-moving
Web requires lots of different disciplines to work together

Senior management are digitally illiterate, they know it’s important but don’t really get it.
The web in a box. What dept does web belong to?
All the business.

This has led to big failures
– Birmingham CC 2.5million (2m over budget)
– Dept T&I £11 per visit
– – $319m, set to rise to $577m. Original budget $93m

Time to adapt. Who’s going to make them? You.

Where do we start?

3 examples:


Most companies I work with lack a clear strategy

Three kernels of truth on strategy

  • What problem are you solving? (i.e. number of leads on decline, need to offer superior service than competitors – how can digital help meet these goals)
  • What are your guiding principles? (framework you can operate within – things you believe in as an organisation)
  • Identify a few and pivotal objectives that lead to a cascade of favourable outcomes (Richard Rumelt)


  • Set your staff free
  • Lead don’t manage
  • Death to the committee
  • Responsibility assignment matrix. Task. Responsible (1 person). Accountable (1 person). Consulted. Informed.
  • Works so much better than committees
  • Break the project mentality. This boom/bust cycle needs to go away. They don’t start and stop.
  • A website should be an ongoing project. Agile can be sold as not wasting money, you pay for what you get. Quick resulsts. Backlog of things that can be done.
  • Put out of scope things in Phase 2 list. Come up with ideas yourself.
  • Invest in your staff. Conferences, training, books. Most of all we need to give them time. Need time to learn / to mess around.


  • Failing fast. We need to encourage experimentation.
  • Proactively engage
  • Clients think the web is a marketing tool. They don’t think of everything else it can do
  • Most of all, we need to start educating
  • We need to make the web ubiquituous in our organisations. It should be embedded in our culture
  • Workshops, educate, internal blog?
  • We need to be service driven, user centric
  • Run internal user test sessions, use pizza to bribe people! Run on same day every month, invited to all. Discuss over lunch
  • How do we solve the management issue? Talk about opportunities. How can digital help. Talk about ROI, SWOT analysis.
  • I feel it’s a bit of a generational thing, but you can get them on board.


  • I’m asking you to become business consultants. To influence organisations that may be huge.
  • You can do it too, it will take you out of your comfort zone
  • You won’t be given permission, you just have to do it
  • If you don’t you’ll always be disillusioned


Build in some downtime every week. So important. Trying to be as efficient as possible is a false economy.

Usually do workshops at client site. Kickoff meetings. Lots of interactive activities that get people engaged. We get clients moodboarding. Get them to wireframe things. Gets them to understand what goes into the web. Always do this with kick-off meetings. Then depends on budget / client as to how many more we do.